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Samsung's 5th-generation Android-based Galaxy smartphone was released April 11, 2014. Improvements to the phone include a fingerprint scanner, updated camera, larger display, and water resistance. It is available in four different colors; black, blue, white, and copper.

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I don't understand "locked" vs. "unlocked" and why

I’m hoping to find a cellphone friend who can help me understand why my U.S. Cellular Samsung Galaxy S5 does suspicious stuff other phones don’t do (and the other way around, my phone doesn’t do things other S5s do), and why I can’t just buy another one used and use it instead. It has to be a “U.S. Cellular” one. Obviously there is something I don’t understand. What is it?

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What stuff does your phone do that you would describe as suspicious?

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Thanks Liam. One example: Android has a back way into some config settings by entering specific strings of characters into the keypad. My phone does not recognize those strings. Another Example: On this phone, the Android OS seems to have some kind of U.S. Cellular favoritism to where stupid U.S. Cellular marketing crap gets installed behind my back without my permission. Things I turn off get turned back on again without my permission. Example: that app that reports to U.S. Cellular where I am standing in their store and plotting my path through their aisles. Another example: Amber Alerts get mysteriously turned back on about once every one to two years. I hate Amber Alerts. I would never turn them on myself.

I would have a phone that was not somehow joined to the provider at the hip.

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There are lots of phones like that. For example the Samsung Galaxy S4 had different versions as well, weather it was a Verizon locked phone or other carrier or from a different country.

What the “locked” means is that the phone is locked to that carrier. This means you have to use that carrier that phone is locked to in order to service it. If the phone is Verizon locked, you can only service it with Verizon.

If the phone is “unlocked” this means that you can use any carrier. It is not locked to any specific one carrier and you can service it with Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks Maxwell, but I'm trying to understand what universe this is okay in. I'd prefer to opt out of drinking this kind if koolaid and just have a phone where I control how much I communicate with others, without all the system-specific "extras" that benefit the provider at my additional sacrifice. Paying hundreds of dollars for a phone is sacrifice enough I am thinking.

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